USS GROWLER was the Navy's second submarine specially built to carry the Regulus guided missiles and the fourth ship in the Navy to bear the name. When the Regulus missiles were taken out of service in 1964, the Navy also decommissioned the two GRAYBACK -class submarines. Stricken from the Navy list on August 1, 1980, the GROWLER was originally scheduled to be sunk as a target but could be saved by the Sea, Air and Space Museum at New York City where she is now serving as a floating museum.
|General Characteristics:||Awarded: July 31, 1954|
|Keel laid: February 15, 1955|
|Launched: April 15, 1958|
|Commissioned: August 30, 1958|
|Decommissioned: May 25, 1964|
|Builder: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, NH.|
|Propulsion system: three diesel engines (4,500 HP), two electric motors (5,600 HP)|
|Length: 318 feet (96.9 meters)|
|Beam: 27 feet (8.2 meters)|
|Draft: 19 feet (5.8 meters)|
|Displacement: Surfaced: approx. 2,670 tons Submerged: approx. 3,650 tons|
|Speed: Surfaced: approx. 20 knots Submerged: approx. 12 knots|
|Armament: six 533 mm torpedo tubes, four Regulus I missiles or two Regulus II missiles, one Regulus launcher|
|Crew: 9 Officers, 75 Enlisted|
This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS GROWLER. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.
Accidents aboard USS GROWLER:
|November 5, 1958||off Isle of Shoals, NH.|
USS GROWLER suffers a leak while conducting a deep-sea dive but is able to surface without damage. The leak was caused by an improperly adjusted sonar compartment fitting for an electrical cable.
History of USS GROWLER:
USS GROWLER was built by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, N.H. At her launching 5 April 1958 she was sponsored by Mrs. Robert K. Byerts, widow of Comdr. Thomas B. Oakley, Jr., who commanded the third GROWLER on her 9th, 10th, and fatal 11th war patrols. GROWLER commissioned at Portsmouth on 30 August 1958, Lt. Comdr. Charles Priest, Jr., in command.
After training exercises off the East Coast GROWLER sailed south for her shakedown cruise, arriving at the Naval Air Station, Roosevelt Roads, P.R., on 19 February 1959. After a brief run back to Portsmouth, she returned to the Caribbean in March to train in launching Regulus I and II guided missiles. GROWLER returned to Portsmouth 19 April via Fort Lauderdale and New London.
GROWLER then proceeded to the Pacific via Norfolk, Key West, and the Panama Canal, putting in at Pearl Harbor on 7 September to serve as flagship of Submarine Division 12. At Pearl Harbor the guided missile sub participated in a variety of battle and torpedo exercises as well as missile practice before beginning her first Regulus Deterrent Mission. On this mission, which lasted from 12 March to 17 May 1960, GROWLER departed Hawaii with a full store of Regulus II sea-to-surface missiles, armed with nuclear warheads, and patrolled under a strict cloak of secrecy. The threat of GROWLER and her sisters, shadowy submarines silently gliding through unknown seas with their potent cargo, should deter any but the most foolhardy foe. The attitude of her crew, at sea on these silent missions for 2 months and more at a stretch, submerged for hours and even days, is nowhere better expressed than in the poem which traditionally opens each year's log. On New Year's Day 1961, as GROWLER prowled deep on her second patrol, Lt. (j.g.) Bruce Felt wrote: "Not our idea of fun and good cheers, but doing our job to ensure many New Years."
From May 1960 through December 1963 GROWLER had made nine such deterrent mission patrols, one of which, the fourth, terminated at Yokosuka, Japan, on 24 April 1962, as the Navy proudly displayed one of its newest and most effective weapons.
Returning to Mare Island, Calif., in May 1964, GROWLER decommissioned 25 May and was placed in reserve at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash. On 29 September 1988, GROWLER was donated as a museum and is now open to the public in New York City, NY.
USS GROWLER Image Gallery:
The photos below were taken by me on January 29, 2009, and show the GROWLER as part of the Sea, Air and Space Museum at New York City, NY. At that time, she had just finished a maintenance period. The submarine was reopened to the public in late May 2009.
The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the GROWLER as part of the Sea, Air and Space Museum at New York City, NY., on May 25 and 27, 2017.
The photo below was taken by Michael Jenning and shows the GROWLER as part of the Sea, Air and Space Museum at New York City, NY., on May 24, 2019.